Creating sustainable success for ambitious business owners

At our first Beds & Herts Compass Meeting, delivered in collaboration with Thomas Cox & Co., we explored some of the sustainable success themes for ambitious business owners (click on each bullet for more information):

The themes resonated with everyone in the room and in exploring them further the following questions came to mind:

How do I become a master of time and delegate more? But:

  • who is better than me?
  • how do I get rid of the bad apples?
  • I must expect people to disappear, so how do I spot the talent and develop it?
  • am I making sure that I am continually delegating, reviewing and letting go?
  • what about trust?

How do I create the future, take charge of my destiny and create opportunity and choice? When:

  • I’m not sure where I want to take things next?
  • are the tough times going to change? and, are they tough for all?
  • our mind-set is focused on survival only?
  • we’ve increased efficiency, how do I get back on a strategic path to maximise value?

How do we continually remind ourselves why we are doing this?

  • is money the big driver, or is it more about purpose?
  • to build something with lasting value, or simply to sell out?
  • to create something different, with impact?
  • what are my personal goals in all of this?
  • how do we start with the why? (Simon Sinek video)

These themes reminded us of the functions of leadership that we use when working with our clients. We use it to help them to develop and implement their strategic plans. The model is referred to within the Entrepreneur as leader theme. So perhaps, this is all about:

  • Managing the present
  • Nurturing identity, and
  • Creating the future

Easy to say, harder to do, but I guess that’s why we are asked to do the work that we do!

Getting off to a successful start

Over the years, we (and, we are sure, you) have had hundreds of conversations with people that go something like this …

“I’m thinking of starting a business, I just need an idea”

“I’ve always dreamed of having my own health club”

“I’ve got this great product, I just need to work out how to sell it”

During these conversations you soon begin to feel that the conversation will never amount to anything more than just a conversation. Then, very occasionally someone comes along and says …

“I’ve been thinking about the idea of …… can I share it with you and see what you think”

Something draws you into the exploration of how it might work or how it might be better. Through the conversation you shape their thinking and before you realise it they are moving on to what they are going to do next to make something happen. You realise that it is these conversations that amount to something. So, what is it that distinguishes those who actually start businesses from those who do not.

If you have hundreds of conversations you start to realise that whilst curiosity killed the cat it made the ambitious business owner.

All the people that have gone on to set up a business had a belief that there was a better way to do something and the only way to get it was to do it themselves. In doing so they were starting with a question not an answer, a problem not a solution, a customer need not a product, a real issue not a dream.

The dreamers simply became disappointed the moment reality came in to view.

So if you  are thinking of starting a business here are some questions that you might want to answer.

  1. What problem are you really trying to solve?
  2. For who are you trying to solve it?
  3. How can you solve it in a way that is better than what is already out there?
  4. Who do you need to speak to next in order to develop the right question?

Expanding horizons

We are really pleased to be running our first Beds & Herts Compass meeting next week in partnership with accountancy firm Thomas Cox & Co. Principal, Peter Cox is a client and regular attendee of our Windsor meetings and wants his client base to benefit from the approach.

The meeting looks to explore and develop the main themes of sustainable success for ambitious growing, founder-led businesses with an interesting mix of businesses. Read here what Peter has written about the meeting himself.

We are also running our next Windsor meeting in the same week (click here for detail) so watch this space for the outputs of both meetings. Exciting times.